The 2009 edition of the World Disasters Report, published annually by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, focuses on early warning systems and the potential for such systems to inform early action as crucial aspects of disaster risk reduction.

The report  stresses the need to recognise early warning not just as a technology, but as a system; it also stresses the need for a "people-centred" approach to these systems. This approach suggests that communities at risk of disaster have high levels of understanding of the threats to their own survival, and knowledge about social networks that offer information-sharing potential. The report argues that scientific and other institutions must provide communities with the right support to strengthen this knowledge and build resilience.

Recommendations and case studies detail the benefits and opportunities for communities to get involved at different stages of the early warning system. In addition to outlining the people-centred approach, the report explores its relevance to climate change and food insecurity. Annexes in the report include statistics on disaster patterns over the last 20 years, as well as progress in implementing risk-reduction measures.